Homeopathic literature often uses different names for a single substance and sometimes includes several distinct substances under a single name. When we prescribe a remedy, we (hopefully) base our prescription on a proving / clinical symptoms image of a substance as recorded in our books. These substances are denoted by distinct names, but the usage of these names vary from one author to another – for example, your case may call for Mercurius iodatus ruber, but the pharmacy has no remedy with such name, they have it under Mercurius bi-odatus.
Also, various pharmacies use various source substances for homeopathic remedy preparation. The optional goal is to find out what exact substances are used to prepare specific remedies – if their cooperation can be obtained.
Each sufficiently distinct substance has a unique page name, with a unique numeric identifier. What considers a distinct substance? There is no simple answer. In theory, every substance is different from any other substance, even if taken from the same source and prepared by the same process.
For practical purposes, if we, for example, consider two specimens of species Achillea millefolium, we usually consider them as a single substance – even if one was grown in Europe and the other one in North America, although it is akin to claiming that all grape varieties are the same.3)
Since the point of this project is linking substances with their respective names used in homeopathic literature, the question of a distinct substance is largely determined by the status provided by said literature. For example, in Hahnemann's Materia Medica Pura under Ferrum metallicum, we find symptoms belonging not only to iron4), but also to iron acetate and sometimes even iron carbonate.
Notwithstanding these problems, the project should provide clear answers to the questions of identification, such as follows:
If my case calls for Pulsatilla and my homeopathic pharmacy only has Pulsatilla pratensis, is it the same remedy or is it a distinct substance?
If Kent describes Pulsatilla nigricans, is it the same plant as Pulsatilla pratensis or something different?
Is Pulsatilla patens the same plant as Pulsatilla pratensis?
Is Pulsatilla nuttalliana the same plant as “general” Pulsatilla?
In this article from the pen of P.P.Wells about Gelseminum, is he actually describing a remedy we now know as Gelsemium sempervirens or is it a distinct remedy?
How many distinct substances are remedies named Benzenum, Benzolum, Benzinum, Nitrobenzolum, Benzinum nitricum?
If I purchase Medorrhinum, Psorinum, Carcinosinum or other nosodes from my local pharmacy, will these work as described in homeopathic literature or should I be doubtful?
Each substance page should contain the following basic data:
Standard name – this is the usual / traditional unique name of the remedy prepared from a substance; the name most frequently used for that particular substance in homeopathic literature
Other names – other names used to denote the same substance, whether historical or modern, as recorded in homeopathic literature; ordered by frequency of use, semicolon-separated (most common names are first); erroneous names are marked with (err.) behind the name or stated in the optional Erroneous name field (see optional data)
Standard abbr. – this is the usual / traditional unique remedy abbreviation as used in homeopathic literature
Other abbr. – other remedy abbreviations as used in homeopathic literature, semicolon-separated
Scientific name – current accepted scientific name of the source substance, if any, including author name, if applicable (example: Pulsatilla pratensis (L.) Mill.)5)
Other scientific names – other scientific names of the source substance, if any, including author name, if applicable (example: Anemone pratensis L.)
Common names – common name(s) of the source substance in English; ordered by frequency of use, semicolon-separated (most common names are first)
Source substance description – a concise description of the source substance part to be used for remedy preparation 6) and / or a process to obtain it 7)
Distinctness – distinctness attribute of the remedy; possible values
DISTINCT = unambiguous identification of the substance and its mode of preparation
UNIQUE = substance used in the proving is unique and remedies should be made from this particular substance only, otherwise the effect is uncertain; warning should be added (example: Tarentula cubensis)
GROUP = several identified substances grouped under one remedy label; provide explanation in the brackets (example: Mephitis putorius)
VARIANTS = various forms, variants or parts of the substance are used for the preparation of the remedy, which may or may not cause differences in medicinal action); list various variants (example: Crocus sativus)
Classification – remedies are classified into several groups based on the original substance or mode of preparation
Provings – all known provings8) of the substance (potentized, crude and poisonings), with a direct link to proving text, if possible
Materia Medica – all known Materia Medica sources of the substance, with a direct link to text, if possible; clinical and proving information are mixed and not readily distinguishable
The basic data set can be further enhanced by additional optional information:
Erroneous names – erroneous names of the remedy based on a typo, misunderstanding, ignorance or similar, as used in the homeopathic literature (such as Aloe soccotrina, which should be Aloe socotrina); semi-colon separated
Similar remedies – similar remedies, remedies made from a similar source or of similar origin; semi-colon separated, ideally with a direct link to the remedy named (examples are Tuberculinum and Bacillinum, both having relationship to tuberculosis)
Provings mixed with – official names of the remedies (with corresponding hyperlinks within Project Remedies records), symptoms of which are often included with this remedy; semicolon-separated (example: Calcarea carbonica includes proving records of Calcarea acetica)
Examples of processed remedies
For better evaluation of current data setup, please have a look at first 5 remedies:
Find out the most recently added remedy number – in the Official remedy name list, section Most recently added remedies. The page name looks like rXXXX, where XXXX is the index number of the remedy, so your new remedy should have the next highest number.9)
Direct your browser to URL http://www.legatum.sk/en:rem:rXXXX, where XXXX is your new remedy number. The page should say “This topic does not exist yet”. If it contains a remedy information, increment your remedy number in the URL and try again.
Click Create button in the right-upper area of the window.
Pondering the idea, it would be really useful if homeopathic remedy manufacturers always named the source of the original remedy substance or prepared the remedy from the substance originally used in the proving, if at all possible – ideally providing a photo and a description of how and where the source substance was obtained.
of the purity of which and the actual composition used in the original provings we can only speculate
please respect the italics and normal type for the name and the author
for example, “a tincture of the root of the plant” description may be sufficient
for example, for Hepar Sulphur, a following description could be given “A mixture of equal parts of finely powdered, clean oyster shells and quite pure flowers of sulphur is kept for ten minutes at a white heat in a hermetically closed crucible and afterwards stored up in a well-corked bottle.”
if the source text contains both provings symptoms and clinical symptoms, the proving symptoms must be distinguishable from the clinical ones; if not, include the source text within Materia Medica section
For example, if the last remedy page name is r2541, your new remedy should reside on page r2542